AN UNSCRUPULOUS uncle exploited his teenage nephew into stealing bikes at the Orbital Shopping Centre, Swindon Youth Court was told.

Magistrates heard the 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was slowly realising the man he had previously looked up to was no good.

Prosecuting, Nick Barr said the boy and his uncle had been identified as the pair responsible for using cutters to steal two bicycles outside ASDA in the Orbital Shopping Park on May 13, 2018.

Clair Gooding, defending, said: “The co-defendant in this matter is an adult. He’s just about to turn 28. He’s the uncle of this defendant. It would appear he has a rather interesting past and has unfortunately led this boy along this path.

“He very much looked up to his uncle, but now realises that it was not a proper relationship and he was being asked to do things he should not have been asked to do.”

“He realises now his uncle was quite simply abusing his good nature and involving him in offending. He no longer wants to be a part of that.”

Julie Coleman, for Swindon’s youth offending team, criticised the uncle’s behaviour as “clear criminal exploitation”. The lad had been working well on his current youth order, she said.

Quizzing the boy, magistrates asked him: "Are you still in touch with your uncle?" "No, not at all," he replied.

The lad said his stuation was better now and called the youth offending team offices "somewhere for me to go". He had hopes of working in the building trade in the future.

Magistrates extended the boy’s youth rehabilitation order by three months. He must pay £176 to the bike owners.